Thursday, September 15, 2011

Secrets of the Book Launch

By Kelli Stanley

As delightful as the question of the week is, I can't answer it for two reasons:

1. I don't believe in stock characters, even when playing Clue;

2. CITY OF SECRETS just launched on Tuesday and as of this moment (12:01 AM EST on September 15th) I am probably in the Bouchercon bar and not capable of much (except, of course, singing "Go See What the Boys in the Backroom Will Have" in my best Dietrich voice, a, er, talent which never seems to abandon me).

So, instead, I thought I'd natter on about book launches.

They sound rather heroic and even patriotic in a way, kind of like NASA. Rocket launches make an awful lot of noise (and lots of cool visuals) ... book launches, on the other hand, are quieter affairs, except in the heart and gut of the author and her family and friends.

They're a time of great optimism--it takes an awful lot of optimism to write a book and publish it, even if what you're writing--maybe especially if what you're writing--is noir. They're also a time of supreme worry, fear, and anxiety, which is one reason why there are always so many authors sitting in the Bouchercon bar.

I wish there were some sort of herbal Xanax for authors, a kind of happy pill we could take when we reach one of those benchmarks that shape our careers ... you know, the agent hunt, the publisher hunt and finally the scariest hunt of all ... the reader hunt.

The sanest way to deal with all the inner (and outer) turmoil associated with launch day is basically to back away. To go back to your keyboard and write. Unfortunately, you can't do that.

You are expected to be out there shouting your book from rooftops, blogging your heart out and tweeting until there are bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover ... you can and you must, even though it is healthier for your emotional state to retreat, to remember why you love to write, to remember how hard and how long you've worked for this chance. Sorry--you don't have the luxury during the launch period.

Even Charles Dickens had to travel on a lecture tour to help his numbers. So, dear writer, must we.

Onward, brave scribes. My friend Laura Benedict once compared publishing (and the will-they-like-it-will-they-hate-it period when you're waiting for reviews--make that praying for reviews) to putting your baby on display and waiting to hear someone say that it's ugly. What you really want, of course, is for someone from Baby Gap to come along and say "What a beautiful child ... how about a modeling contract?"

Once in awhile, it happens. And until it does ... get out there and smile, baby, smile!!

Kelli's CITY OF SECRETS, second novel in the acclaimed Miranda Corbie series, launched on Tuesday. She hopes it will be in orbit for a very, very long time.


Joshua Corin said...

Can't wait to see you later today!

Meredith Cole said...

Congrats on the launch of City of Secrets, Kelli! Hope Bouchercon is a blast... I will miss seeing the Criminal Minds gang there (hoping for next year in Ohio!)

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Congrats on the new book. Enjoy B'Con!

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Luckily, your baby IS that gorgeous!

Wish I could have seen the launch, wish I could be at Bouchercon, but am glad I know you and Miranda well enough to wish for both.

Best of luck out there!

Reece said...

Congrats on another successful book launch, Kelli! Wish I could knock one back with you at the Bouchercon bar (and hear that Dietrich impression!)

Vicki Delany said...

Congratulations, Kelli. Can't wait to read it!

Luxembourg said...

CITY OF SECRETS is the second of Kelli Stanley's award-winning Miranda Corbie novels, which begins within a few months after CITY OF DRAGONS ends. It is still 1940, the setting is still San Francisco, and there is yet another celebration taking place: the beginning of the second season of the Golden Gate International Exposition. Be warned: when you open the book and begin reading the first page, you are leaving the 21st century and wherever you happen to be behind. By page nine, you will be so thoroughly immersed in the San Francisco of the mid-20th century that your contemporary surroundings will seem to be the product of an inferior imagination.